Steve Bannon is not stupid. So why did he say that the meeting taken by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and a number of Russians was “unpatriotic” and “treasonous”? Bannon knows that Donald Trump is loyal first to his family (after himself of course) before anyone else, and that getting into a fight vs. the family would lead to Trump savaging him. And it played out as Bannon expected – although Trump may have been a little bit harsher than Bannon had hoped.
The past 24 hours have seen a significant (and predictable) backlash against Bannon from the Trump camp and his supporters. Although many tea-party types have tried to avoid taking sides, the vast majority of those who have done so have sided with Trump.
What Steve Bannon did was no accident. Nor is he making apologies for anything he said. So what is Bannon’s plan? Its simple – he plans to be a survivor in the coming bloodbath so he can regain his former glory and power – with or without Trump.
Bannon knows what’s coming, and he’s trying to get ahead of it. He has a huge amount of power due to the fact that he wasn’t involved in the Russian skulduggery. He knows that large numbers of the Trump team are guilty of collusion/treason and that Robert Mueller will soon indict them. This certainly includes Flynn, Manafort, Don Jr., Kushner, and numerous small fry. The only unknowns are whether Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump will also be named. And when Mueller does indict, the evidence will be so thorough, so well documented, and so complete, that all but the most loyal Trumpians will have to get onboard.
Once this all comes about (and it may not be far away), Donald Trump will be damaged to the core. Nobody knows at this point whether his Presidency will survive. But either way, Steve Bannon will be OK. Either Trump will survive, in which case he will need an untainted senior advisor whom he trusts (re-enter Bannon), or he won’t survive, in which case Bannon goes back to playing his long game at Breitbart, reels in the disaffected Trump people, and waits for the next opportunity.
Either way he avoids going down with the ship. And his plan will probably work. But it will be messy.